[MUSIC] Welcome back. I first got interested in hotel distribution back in the 1990's, while chatting with a colleague of mine at Cornell University. Professor Chekatin Dev is a professor of marketing at the Hotel School at Cornell. And one of the world's foremost experts on hotel branding. As we were debating the future of the hotel sector, he said something that marked me profoundly. He claimed that when it came to hotels, that the product didn't matter anymore. Now this seemed very strange because in the hotel industry at that time, everything was about the product. Heavenly bed, my bed, this bed, that bed. Hotel companies were totally focused on refining product to match customer needs. But Checki said something very important. You can have the best product in the world, the most comfortable beds, the most innovative restaurants, the most customer-friendly staff. But if no one can find you, no one can book you, then you will quickly go out of business. Now rather than committing marketing heresy, Checki was simply pointing out, that instead of totally focusing on product, hotels instead needed to put emphasis on the other three Ps. Price, promotion and particularly, place. Over the past two decades the hotel industry has made this fundamental shift. Changing from a sector that was practically exclusively product-focused to one where the four Ps are much more balanced. As Professor Graft Described in the first module. Place, or having very effective distribution has become one of the key issues in hotel success. High operational gearing, which means that any marginal increase in revenue has a disproportional positively effect on profit. Coupled with high capital gearing, which means that hotels are obliged to earn high profits in order to make their debt payments and leave the surplus for their owners. Make selling every room, every night, at the optimum price, essential. As a result, distribution has become much more important as hotels make use of an increased number and a greater variety of distribution channels. This module explores today's hotel distribution environment in depth. To help you understand not only who the major players are and how they contribute to the hotel's success. But also to highlight the ever increasing complexity of the hotel distribution landscape and examine the likely effect of some current developments. During this module we will build a map of hotel distribution channels, highlighting in particular, the technology based systems and other forms of intermediaries that facilitate the distribution process. We will use this later when we examine the critical issue of distribution cost, something that has gradually crept up and become increasingly worrying for both hotel managers and owners today. We will also examine some other critical issues, particularly control and data ownership, and how they affect hotel distribution. Lastly, we will speculate as to how the sector might evolve. Even though, as we will see, the distribution landscape is beginning to mature in many regions much potential still remains. And many companies from outside the hospitality sector, such as for example, Google and Amazon, are becoming increasingly interested in how they might contribute to and profit from hotel distribution. An oft quoted Chinese saying is, May you live in interesting times! While purporting to be a blessing, in reality, this phrase is often used ironically and is in fact a curse. This is where we are right now with hotel distribution. The increasingly complex distribution environment presents us with fabulous and constantly evolving opportunities to better sell our product. But it also forces us to work harder, much harder, in an ever-changing environment to be able to do so successfully. When it comes to hotel distribution, we definitely live in interesting times.